From Chaos to Order in the Pantry

You know when you get home from the grocery store and you’re filled with dread because now you need to put all of those groceries away? There are some things that I just don’t like about keeping house: putting away clean dishes that have air dried (also emptying the dishwasher, but we don’t have one in our current house), mopping the floor, and putting the groceries away… I don’t know what it is about those tasks, maybe I just need to embrace them somehow. I used to have a huge aversion to folding laundry but I have since conquered that one, and I quite like taking care of the laundry now! Perhaps I will feel this way about the groceries one day, but for now I just like to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. The problem is, sometimes I take one shortcut too many and after a few weeks my pantry was looking like this:
pantry before

Thankfully after emptying out the pantry and using a couple of shelf dividers and a basket, order has been returned rather painlessly.

pantry after

I must say, there is so much satisfaction in order. Such a simple thing, but something that can really bring a peace and a calmness when applied throughout the home. I have been trying to have a “do it now” attitude when it comes to taking care of the house, and I will try to do this when putting away groceries (properly). Anyone else have a messy and unorganized pantry? If it’s well organized, what are your secrets to keeping it that way?

Be inspired,


Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

10 Reasons Why Marriage is Better Than Chocolate

  1. 1. Chocolate doesn’t love me back. My husband knows all of my imperfections, quirks, and craziness and he still chooses to love me. Trust me, this is no small feat! For this I am truly thankful.
  2. 2. I always have a friend to share my thoughts with. I may be able to talk to chocolate, but it doesn’t respond.
  3. 3. Chocolate doesn’t appreciate any little things that I do to care for it. I have the privilege of serving my husband. This one may seem weird, but once I learned what a privilege this is, I began to enjoy (rather than resent) doing his laundry, cleaning up his shoes that he left out, cooking for him, and helping him out in many little ways throughout the day. This change meant that I had to become a little bit less selfish. Once I found joy in serving him, I found more joy in my day. And you know what? Our marriage got even better. It lead to even more of #4.
  4. 4. I have the honor of being served by my husband. Not only does he work really hard to pay the bills, but he also fixes the house (and everything in it when it breaks down), encourages me as we do life together, and rubs my back when it’s sore. While chocolate does serve to indulge my chocolate craving, that’s where it all ends.
  5. 5. In marriage, I am constantly challenged. Challenged to be more generous, more creative, and more Christ-like. The only way that chocolate challenges me is in the amount of willpower that I have to eat only a little at a time!
  6. 6. I have a strong man of God to parent my kids with. Some days when my man is away and I feel like pulling my hair out, I am so full of appreciation for the way that he helps to care for and pour truth and love into our daughters. While a little chocolate sometimes seems like a good idea when the kids are driving me crazy, the comfort it brings is momentary and fleeting.
  7. 7. In marriage I am continuing to learn how to speak in ways that build up instead of tear down. I think you would agree that when you are your most comfortable that the ugliest side of you comes out right? I believe that God gives us spouses to help us to train our thoughts and to be disciplined in building others up, especially our husbands. Chocolate’s got nothing on this one…
  8. 8. My husband is my protector; he defends me and watches out for me. Chocolate does give me some physical protection! The potential benefits of eating dark chocolate are said to include: lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems (1). Still, it won’t protect me in the unlikely event of a home invasion.
  9. 9. In marriage, I always have someone to go for a walk or bike ride with. I’ve got a squash partner, frisbee thrower, hike goer, tea drinker and book store browser. While I can go on a walk with chocolate, it just doesn’t compare to the great company of my husband!
  10. 10. The intimacy that God designed for marriage is incredible. This truly does bond us emotionally and keeps our marriage strong. Although chocolate is often identifies as an aphrodisiac, this is most often associated with the simple sensual pleasure of its consumption (2), and doesn’t last.

Be inspired,


Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

  • (1)

    A Hoot of a Project

    This week has been full. Full of busy days, and full of some fun as well. My girls have been asking for some new hats for a while, and I’ve wanted to make them some new hats for a while. The thing is, that when you often have jobs with deadlines and products that need to be completed for other people, there isn’t always time  to work on things that are for us when they don’t have a deadline. But sometimes you just have to be a little crazy! This week my craziness involved a couple of late nights, which equalled a fun crocheted owl hat and one very happy little girl.

    my happy girl

    This hat was a lot of fun to make. It was also great to let my little girl come to the local yarn shop to pick out her yarn and to tell me exactly how she wanted her owl hat to look. I love her spirit.

    handmade owl hat

    Now to finish two more hats!

    Be inspired,


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    Some Grain-Free Baking Going On!

    With my 30 day food challenge underway, my girls and I have been experimenting in the kitchen. We’ve had some very cold days here, and what better thing to do than heat up the kitchen with some baking right? I received the cookbook Against All Grain, by Danielle Walker for Christmas, and it has some delicious recipes in it. They are all grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free – but they are yummy! If you’re looking for a healthy baking alternative (and not just baking, great recipes all around!), check out Danielle’s blog to try some recipes for yourself. Pictured here are some of the cookies that we have made:

    grain free baking
    grain free nut butter cookies

    The 30 day food challenge is going really well. I feel as though my bad food habits are being broken, and that I am making mindful choices about the food that I am consuming. Instead of putting junk into my body when I feel hungry for a snack, I am choosing fruits, veggies, plain yogurt, a piece of cheese, or some nuts. These snacks are much more satisfying, and don’t cause me to crave more that what I need. I have not felt hungry or unsatisfied since starting this challenge, and have eaten very well. My energy level has been high, and I have felt very clear headed. As an unanticipated bonus, my pants which became slightly snug over Christmas, have gone back to fitting perfectly!

    This area of discipline has spilled over into greater spiritual discipline and spending more time with the Lord. Praise God! He continues to work in my life and to refine me, as He desires to do with you as well. If you are reading this and want to know more about how the Lord Jesus has changed my life, please ask me! I would love to share my story with you.

    For those of you who sent me a message and are doing this challenge with me, keep up the good work one healthy choice at a time!

    Thanks for reading,


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5


    Back to the Basics with School Lunches!

    Packing a healthy school lunch for your child can be tricky. It gets even trickier when food allergies or intolerances are involved! I still remember the thought and worry that went into packing the first school lunch for my eldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten. I panicked that I didn’t have enough the evening before the first day of school, and drove out to a local vegetable stand to buy just one more thing that I could add to complete that lunch! We’re in a great routine with school lunches now – we know how many snacks our girls will eat in a day, and we know what their individual preferences are.

    Some Guidelines:

    1. Keep it simple. Apples and bananas are great snacks! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that snacks have to be fancy looking.
    2. Avoid any prepackaged or processed snacks. Not only are they often full of sugar, preservatives, and artificial colours, but they are also very expensive, and create more garbage waste.
    3. Include a rainbow of colours. This will ensure that they are getting a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins from their food.
    4. Introduce one new snack at a time. A complete overhaul all at once would be a shock to anyone’s system. Take it slow.
    5. If including a juice box, ensure that it is labelled 100% juice. Most juice boxes are laden with sugar, added flavour, and food colouring.
    6. Educate your kids about how healthy their lunch is, and why this is important for their growing bodies and learning minds. They do understand!

    School Lunch Inspiration – what to include:

    1 main item such as:

    • Hummus with corn chips or whole grain crackers to dip (they also love to dip their veggies in hummus).
    • Guacamole with corn chips or whole grain crackers to dip.
    • Leftovers kept warm in a thermos such as: stew, soup, pasta, casserole
    • A sandwich – egg salad, tuna salad, sunflower seed butter & jam etc.

    As well as 3 snacks which can include:

    • 1 piece of fruit such as: An apple (sliced with an apple slicer, held together with a rubber band and put into a reusable plastic bag), a banana, a clementine orange (or slices of a navel orange), grapes, melons, or berries.
    • 1 veggie such as: Cucumber slices, carrot sticks or baby carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper slices, or celery sticks.
    • 1 “fun” snack such as: Homemade granola bars (nut , dairy and gluten free), homemade muffins (sweetened with honey), trail mix (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, gluten free cereal, raisins), or homemade cookies (sweetened with honey). With the exception of the trail mix, I make these snacks ahead in large batches and freeze them so that when we’re packing lunches in the morning we just pull them out and they are ready to go!

    school lunch

    I hope these ideas inspire you as you strive to provide your kids with nutritious, simple lunches that they will enjoy! (Don’t forget to click on the links in the text above for the yummy recipes that I’ve shared in earlier posts.)

    What are some healthy school lunch ideas that your kids love? Please share with us!


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5


    Good Fun in the Snow!

    In our house, WE LOVE SNOW!!! This winter has been a good one so far, and lots of the fun white stuff is falling as we speak. Over here it has been all about snow forts, snowmen, and tobogganing off of the “hill” my husband made from the steps off the back deck. It’s amazing how four steps can become hours of fun when snow is piled up on top and smoothed out just right. Here are a couple of images from our fun in the snow this winter so far:


    snow fort

    After hours of fun in the snow, the kids always like to warm up with a mug of hot cocoa, and I enjoy making it very simply with only 3 ingredients over the stove. I use unsweetened original almond milk, and I whisk in equal parts cocoa and honey. You can make it as strong and as sweet as you like it, as a guideline I use about 1 teaspoon of each per 1 1/2 cups of milk. You get a yummy mug of hot cocoa without all of the additives and refined sugar found in an instant hot chocolate mix.

    hot cocoa

    Put on your snowsuits, get out there and have some good fun in the snow!


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    Daring to be Disciplined

    I have decided to start the new year off with a 30 day commitment to be disciplined in the area of food. If you know me, you may be wondering why I, a self professed health conscious person, would need to do such a thing? Food is an area where I need to grow. I get the munchies, and I over eat. I feel emotional, and I turn to food. What type of food? Comfort food of course! The saltier and sweeter the better. So while we eat a strictly gluten free diet, and our meals are very healthy, my snacking habits throughout the day are not too hot. In order to break these bad snacking habits, I have decided to make a 30 day commitment to only eat real food for this period of time. No processed food, no grains, no sugar, nothing with “natural flavour” added to the ingredient list. This will be a pretty big challenge for me, but I am excited to see how I feel at the end of the month after only putting real foods into my body. The biggest comfort foods that I will miss: potato chips, and chocolate.

    Why do I feel like I want to do this challenge? Spiritual and physical health are both important to me, and to God. When I turn to food instead of to our Lord in challenging times, this is a problem. When I’m mindlessly snacking with no purpose and no appetite, I realize that it’s a problem when it’s a trend and not an exception. I want to take this area of my life and make it healthy. I want to feel good about my food choices throughout the entire day, and I want to eat with the purpose of nourishing my body, not comforting myself.

    In Romans chapter 12, Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. When I turn to food instead of Christ throughout the day, I recognize that I am not taking care of my body as we are called to, and also that I am missing out on intimacy with Christ that I would have if I spent time in prayer instead of in the pantry. It is because of this that I am sharing this weakness that I have. We all have areas where we need to grow in obedience, and food is one of mine. I am surrendering this area up to God, I’m confessing this area of struggle, and I know that with the power of the Holy Spirit within me that I will overcome this area of weakness in my life.

    Today was day one of the challenge, and it was a great day! I ate well, made great choices, and felt satisfied and energetic throughout the entire day (well, except when I was snuggled up on the couch reading with my girls after supper and I was nodding off…I credit that to all of the great winter fun we had outside today).

    Does anyone else struggle in this area? I would love to have some company on this challenge! Reply to this post, or send me an e-mail if you want to join in on this 30 day commitment to make healthier steps in the area of food. Let’s dare to be disciplined in all areas of life.

    Thanks for reading,


    “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

    Another Handmade Christmas

    Things around here have been busy, fun, and full of good family time. LOTS of board games have been played, and we have three very happy girls. We once again gave and received many handmade gifts, so I thought I would share some of them.

    handmade kids swords

    These simple wooden swords that my husband made are perfect for our 4 year old nephew.


    I made this chalkboard from an old mirror frame that I picked up from a yard sale.

    crocheted mouse

    This adorable crocheted mouse was a hit with our 2 year old niece.

    superhero capes

    Two of our nephews now live dual lives as superheros.

    finger puppets

    Karis loves her new felt handmade finger puppets.

    crocheted beard and crown

    Another nephew is now a king when his crocheted crown and beard are being donned.

    I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

    More than Presents Under the Tree

    gifts under the tree

    Three years ago in December, I wrote a blog entitled Avoiding the Plague of Materialism. You can read it here. This year as it gets closer to Christmas I am still aware of many of the same things, and am trying to pass on to my children the importance and blessing of giving to others, instead of focusing on all that they are going to receive. We really don’t want our children to see the celebration of the birth of Jesus as little more than presents under the tree. It is SO much more than this, but the commercialization of Christmas makes it tricky for this I want attitude to stay away from our homes doesn’t it? It means that we have to be so intentional as we live out our lives as Christ followers.

    This year we have had the opportunity to purchase gifts for children overseas and for children in our community, and because of this we are thankful that we have been able to show our kids ways in which we can look to meet the needs of others, instead of focusing on ourselves and our wants. As they grow older, we will continue to watch for age appropriate ways to serve as a family that will broaden the awareness that our girls have of the needs around them – not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs.

    My hope is that this year as our girls open up their simple gifts which we thoughtfully picked out for them, that they will be thankful. That each year as they mature, that they will grow in awareness and understanding of the responsibility as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, to care for our neighbours in the third world. That they will be aware of how many opportunities they are given in this country, and that they will not take their life for granted. That they will have an eternal perspective on life as they live out Christ’s command to care for the orphans and the widows.

    May we teach our children with wisdom and joy this Christmas season.


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5


    Relief and Celebration!

    Four years ago when we took our (then) 2 1/2 year old year old daughter in for her first eye exam, we were shocked to find out that she had a genetic problem with one of her eyes called refractive amblyopia. We were totally unaware that she was only able to see out of one of her eyes, her other so weak that her brain had stopped reading from it.  I blogged about some of the challenges that were involved with this diagnosis here. For the past four years, she has had to wear a patch daily for 2 hours while playing handheld video games (as long as possible during this time each day) to force the weak eye to focus and get stronger. This was a huge challenge for us since Sophia didn’t like video games… When Sophia was 2 and 3, we could put her patch on when we were around other people and she was unaware of their glances that hung on, and their inquiring questions of what had happened. In the past years however, the biggest challenge that we faced as we patched daily was her increasing awareness of the curious people around us. Her tiredness of the constant questioning, and the regular answer “I have a weak eye”, and the knowledge that she was visibly different. She didn’t appreciate my encouragement on one occasion to make light of the questions and answer with an “arrr” like a pirate would… I thought it would be funny! She began to wear a hat with a wide brim when we were in public because our schedule didn’t allow her patching to be done at home that day.

    Despite our challenges we patched faithfully, and when I did have an odd day where I forgot I would feel the guilt. I would find myself imagining that at her next frequent check up we would not see positive results. We did continue to see positive results, however. Faster improvement at the beginning, slower as the eye got stronger. I was beginning to think that this was a burden that we would be carrying for a very long time. To my relief, we were surprised with the overwhelmingly good news at our last check up that Sophia’s weak eye has improved so much that we no longer have to patch!!! When our eye doctor said this to us so matter of factly, I could hardly believe it, and asked him to clarify. He confirmed this good news and congratulated us. I got tears in my eyes as I looked over at my beaming daughter who finally realized that her hard work had paid off and come to an end, and as I felt the weight of a motherly burden released. Many days as I tried to put the patch on my daughter she would resist and I would gently encourage her (and some days not so gently) that if she was diligent now, her hard work would pay off and that one day she would no longer have to patch. FOUR YEARS LATER, this came true. I hope and pray that Sophia has learned from this that hard work can take a long time to pay off. That many times we have to just be faithful, even when we do not know what the result will be, or what the future will hold for us. Isn’t this how it is as we follow the Lord as well? Sometimes what God asks us to do doesn’t make any sense to us – we don’t understand how good can come of it, or what the result will be. Follow me, He says. Trust me, He says. Surrender your will to Me, He says.

    I also pray that my already empathetic daughter will continue to be sensitive to those around her that are visibly different in some way. That she won’t be scarred by the attention that her patching brought, but that she will remember what it felt like, and remember to treat others the way she wanted to be treated – like a kid who just wanted to have some fun and be noticed for her great qualities, not the huge patch covering her eye. While she was never bullied, I hope that she will stand up for those kids who are. I hope that she will be a defender of the weak, and a friend to those in need as she follows the Lord even when she doesn’t understand.

    I am so relieved to be released of this task. Released of  what I only realized was a huge burden to me once it was gone. I cried tears of joy as we walked out of the doctor’s office that day. I picked up my daughter and swung her around whooping in delight as we both laughed in relief and celebration for the wonderful news.

    Thanks for reading,


    Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5